Video highlights and photo gallery: Norwich City 2, Brentford 1
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Youssouf Mulumbu's second half injury proved a sour footnote to Norwich City's friendly win against Brentford in their pre-season finale ahead of the Premier League kick-off.
The summer signing departed in the closing stages following a collision in midfield that forced him to hobble out of the action, with his right boot off, and supported either side as he headed straight down the tunnel.
Mulumbu had impressed again after his goalscoring exploits against FC Augsburg last weekend in a useful work-out for the Canaries.
Wes Hoolahan lobbed City in front from Jonny Howson's pass in the first half but Andre Gray had replied within a minute before Cameron Jerome marked his second half arrival with a thumping close-range finish in the last outing before Crystal Palace's opening day Premier League visit to Carrow Road.
John Ruddy was the only starter from the midweek 1-0 friendly home defeat to West Ham as Alex Neil restored his big hitters. Robbie Brady started at left-back following his transfer from Hull, with the Republic of Ireland international set to deputise for Martin Olsson against the Eagles as the Swede continues his rehab from shoulder surgery.
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Liverpool loanee Andre Wisdom was on the bench along with fit-again Jerome. Mulumbu and Lewis Grabban returned to the line up after their eye-catching displays in last weekend's 2-1 friendly win against FC Augsburg in Germany.
Ricky van Wolfswinkel and Gary Hooper missed out on the matchday squad along with Kyle Lafferty (knee) who Neil confirmed on Friday is not in contention for the league opener.
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Brentford included the highly-rated Gray for Marinus Dijkhuizen's side, who replaced Mark Warburton in June following the Bees' Championship play-off semi-final defeat to Middlesbrough.
Grabban had the first shot in anger with 22 seconds on the clock when he burst clear but sliced his right-footed attempt wide of David Button's near post from six yards.
Brady's first intervention was a cultured pass in behind Nico Yannaris for Grabban but Button eventually gathered Steven Whittaker's hanging cross.
Brady's set piece quality was immediately apparent after Button had denied Grabban with a smothering stop but Graham Dorrans' first time shot brushed the side netting in a positive start from Neil's frontline troops.
Konstantin Kerschbaumer clipped Hoolahan to offer Brady another opportunity 25 yards out on the left, but there were no takers at the back post for his centre before Howson lashed a follow-up effort into the Lower Barclay.
Bradley Johnson was on his heels at the far post in the 16th minute as he failed to anticipate Whittaker's deep cross but the desire to move the ball quickly and use the full width of the pitch was admirable.
City opened their account seconds later when Hoolahan calmly lobbed Button after racing free before controlling Howson's lifted pass.
The Canaries, however, were punished for defensive hesitancy straight from the kick-off, when livewire Gray unleashed a rising strike from the edge of the area past Ruddy.
The grounded Button then foiled Howson on his own line with his legs after the midfielder appeared set to restore the hosts' lead from Grabban's cut-back.
Brentford remained a threat on the counter and the unmarked Lasse Vibe headed at Ruddy from 12 yards after the Canaries were sliced open again down their right.
Hoolahan returned the favour to Howson in the 29th minute with a gorgeous lifted pass, but his team mate failed to apply the initial touch that would have left Button stranded after the Bees' keeper had raced 30 yards from his goal.
Brady underlined his natural attacking instincts with a dangerous incision before fellow Irishman Hoolahan freed the overlapping Whittaker only for Brentford to scramble clear.
Whittaker looked less assured in the 37th minute when Andy Gogia burst past him at the opposite end, but his low centre struck the base of Ruddy's post and ricocheted to safety for the hosts.
Hoolahan felt the full force of Kerschbaumer again five minutes before the break but Brady was not required as Johnson rolled a quick free-kick in to Grabban who drilled a 30-yard shot wide.
Button was needed to beat away Johnson's piledriver from just outside the edge of the area following Grabban's tempting set in the final act of a competitive first half.
Neil retained the same personnel at the start of the second period, but the visitors made a triple change, which included Jota, who scored in the Bees' 2-1 Championship win at Carrow Road in January.
Gray rose above Seb Bassong but glanced a flick header wide of Ruddy's far post from six yards.
Jota then tested Ruddy in the 54th minute, who grasped at the second attempt, following good pressure from the Brentford midfield to rob Mulumbu.
Brady almost marked his debut with a curling 18-yard finish that was destined to drift inside Button's far post before the keeper flicked it behind for a corner. Button was resolute again just before the hour mark with a tip over to divert Howson's goalbound strike after Hoolahan and Grabban triggered a swift counter.
Neil made a triple change of his own in the 63rd minute with Liverpool youngster Wisdom introduced to warm applause for Whittaker. Nathan Redmond and Jerome replaced Johnson and Hoolahan respectively.
Wisdom made an immediate impact for his new club with a penetrative burst and superbly weighted slip pass for fellow sub Jerome to surge into the Brentford box and lash an angled finish into the roof of Button's net.
Button was back to frustrating City in the aftermath, when Redmond danced into the area before unleashing a low strike.
Alex Tettey and Tony Andreu were the latest reinforcements for the over-worked fourth official to deal with as Dorrans and Grabban departed.
Redmond switched to his more natural right for the final 15 minutes and almost served up a second for Jerome who was unable to connect with a sliding far post attempt.
Brentford's threat had dramatically receded but Ruddy remained alert to parry Philipp Hofmann's stabbed near post effort in the 78th minute.
Norwich's positive second half showing on the field soured when Mulumbu was forced to depart with an injury to his right foot after failing to recover from an initial collision. The powerful midfielder needed to be supported either side as he hobbled down the tunnel with his right boot already removed.
Ruddy was then pressed into service to block Gogia's thumping hit before smothering the follow-up from Marcos Tebar.
Button produced one more act of defiance with a back-pedalling tip over to thwart Jerome in the first of three added minutes.
• Norwich City: Ruddy, Whittaker (Wisdom 63), Martin, Bassong, Brady, Howson, Mulumbu (R Bennett 81), Dorrans (Tettey 73), Johnson (Redmond 63), Hoolahan (Jerome 63), Grabban (Andreu 74). Sub (not used): Rudd.
• Goals: Hoolahan (17), Jerome (66)
• Brentford: Button, Yannaris (McCormack 45), Bidwell, Kerschbaumer (Tebar 70), Barbet (Jota 45), Dean (O'Connell 80), Vibe (Tarkowski 45), Diagouraga, Gray (Hofman 71), Judge, Gogia. Sub (not used): Bonham.
• Goal: Gray (18)
• Added on time: 1 minute / 3 minutes
• Referee: A Woolmer (Northants)
• Attendance: 10,606